Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum The role of spiritual direction in deep time journeying

This topic contains 21 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Di Shearer 3 months ago.

  • Author
  • #13087

    Di Shearer

    Having just become a contributing member, I’m keen to connect with other spiritual directors in this learning community. Please connect first and then we will begin a conversation about how our deep time journeying impacts our role as spiritual directors.

  • #13166

    Di Shearer

    I have now had one reply from another spiritual ‘guide’. Hopefully others will join us soon. As I attempt to reflect on the question I’ve posed: how does our deep time journeying impact our role as spiritual directors, I feel at first as if there’s nothing to say. We all come to spiritual direction from different starting points. But then on the other hand, there’s also everything to say. Most come from a religiously formed sense of spirituality, and perhaps the majority of us are attempting to be free of idolising bonds of ‘ideology’ or ‘theology’. Living along side the early education PD series awakens us to the degree to which our past world view has shaped our very limited vision of our era. What might it be like to spend an hour with a sanctified imagination that situates us in the era of the trilobites, or in the era of the dinosaurs. Or an our with a sanctified imagination of an era to come. Let’s live with that for a while and share our thoughts.

  • #13178

    Brian Tucker


    Am excited to start my day by contemplating your post and listening to the arising of new ideas emerge (accompanied by the sound of the blue jays and robins out my bedroom window!) As I pondered your question, this morning I sat with the Aitareya Upanishad – the Microcosm of Man (from the Rig Veda of those following the Sanatam Dharmic path, which is one of the oldest scriptures that I know. In that upanishad (translation by Eknath Eswaran), I was moved by the opening verse (with a masculine interpretation) which goes as follows:

    "Before the world was created, the Self
    Alone existed; nothing whatever stirred. Then the Self thought: "Let me create the world."
    He brought forth all the worlds out of himself:
    Ambhas, high above the sky;
    Marichi, the sky; Mara, the middle region that is earth;
    And Apa, the realm of waters below.

    The Self thought: "I have created these worlds. Let me now create guardians for these worlds."
    From the waters he drew forth Purusha
    And gave him a form. As the Self brooded
    Over the form, a mouth opened, as does
    An egg, giving forth speech and fire; nostrils
    Opened with the power of breathing the air;
    Eyes opened, giving rise to sight and sun;
    And ears opened to hear the sound in space.
    Skin appeared and from it hair; from hair came
    Plants and trees. The heart gushed forth; from the heart
    Came the mind, and from the mind came the moon.
    The navel opened with the downward force,
    Apana, which gave rise to death. The sex organ rose with
    living water which gave rise to birth.

    …thus came these guardians into the mighty Ocean of existence.

    Let's consider the two ways of entering this discussion that you laid out in your original post, where as you have written, there is "nothing to say" (paravidya), alongside the perspective that there is "everything to say" (aparavidya) — two ways of knowledge worth pursuing! Looking forward to what emerges! Will also turn to Teilhard and others as guides along this pathway.


  • #13199

    Di Shearer

    Thank you, Brian for this deep and touching response. As I read the Aitareya Upanishad, I can’t help but go to the Aboriginal Australian ‘knowing’ of the Dreaming, which is the earliest and deepest spiritual connection I know. But again only in a ‘not knowing’ sense. The wonder in my belly is the wonder of how deeply connected these two far separated streams (geographically and historically) are. As well as the wonder that we live in a time when such streams flow together in our exchange. I had/have the same experience when I read and view Jennifer Morgan’s Trilogy or when I replicate the patterns of life in painting a silk scarf. So, yes, let’s further our discussion with the wisdom words of Teilhard!

  • #13284

    Brian Tucker

    An unexpected treasure along this Deep Time Journey has been the writings of Maria Montessori (and the Professional Development Series hosted here on the Network!). A quote from the “Cosmic Education as a Continuum Across All Levels” class with Betsy Coe and Ann Sutton stands out:

    “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the Universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity” — Maria Montessori

    For me, one of the reasons Teilhard has been such a powerful guide in the Deep Time Journey is because his imagination encompassed both the realm of the materialists and those who uphold a spiritual interpretation of matter. In his writing on the “Phenomenon of Man” (2nd chapter on ”The Within of Things”), Teilhard references two schools of thought:

    “On the one hand the materialists insist on talking about objects as though they only consisted of external actions in transient relationships. On the other hand the upholders of a spiritual interpretation are obstinately determined not to go outside a kind of solitary introspection in which things are only looked upon as being shut in upon themselves in their ‘immanent’ workings. Both fight on different planes and do not meet; each only sees half the problem.”

    Like Montessori, Teilhard offers a hopeful vision of wholeness that our world has yet to fully embrace:

    “I am convinced that the two points of view require to be brought into union, and that they soon will unite in a kind of phenomenology or generalized physic in which the internal aspect of things as well as the external aspect of the world will be taken into account.”

    It could well be that the Aboriginal Australian ‘knowing’ of the Dream is closely linked with the ancient Rishi’s experience as related in the many verses of the Upanishads of this “internal aspect” or the “within of things” pointed at by Teilhard and others. One role that spiritual guidance offers is in helping us honor and value the “interior aspect” of our natural world while integrating a worldview defined by the exterior world of things. Like spiritual guidance, the Deep Time Journey can lead us along the path of integrating these two points of view.

    Tonight I enjoyed reading about the recent discovery of circular cave structures at the Bruniquel Caves in France of structures believed to have been created by Neanderthal living in the region more than 175,000 years ago. I wonder at the significance and meaning in the geometry of these structures, which appear to be egg-like and circular.Do geometric symbols and designs help communicate a deeper structure to reality than what our materially oriented ego-consciousness more regularly experiences? Again, this seems consistent with the traditions maintained by aboriginal and vedic cultures.

    See the link at:

    Bruniquel Neanderthal Circular Cave Structures

    Teilhard and others “Geologians” help remind me that this is truly a world filled with deep soul and meaning, despite the paradox of our earthly lives being potentially filled with ecstatic joy alongside great suffering. In either extreme, how are we being called into a greater evolutionary consciousness?


    • #13314

      Denise Tangney


      I recently became aware of the hidden knowledge that is actually carried in my DNA. , my particular DNA. Deep mystery of the cosmic becoming ….wanting to manifest in me. The joy of studying the aboriginals is that they know and celebrate that fact. Culture has temporally lost its way, weakened that primal knowing.
      My internet connection is often weak. Spiritual guidance, in its many forms, boosts a connectivity to what is already available to me. Presence has been lovingly guiding the universe for eternity, prior to it manifestation in space and time. Developing a stronger internet connection, so to speak, helps co-create the Omega Point.
      I have spent a lifetime developing stronger connections. Many ‘spiritual guides’, including human ones, became the thread of connectivity. But now my actual body is my teacher. I am inviting that which I see and that which I cannot see to be my guide at this moment.
      I think that the role of Spiritual Direction, in its current understanding, is to help others to develop a listening heart. That heart has had a history, a song that wants to be heard. It is a unique song germane only to that person, but one that we all share. Science calls it holons. I call it an old song with a different beat!
      I look forward to hearing the thoughts of ‘down under’. Brian and I have opined the role of the current presidential debates in ‘guiding’ ones’ listening heart!!
      Blessings on our musings.

  • #13344

    Di Shearer

    Thanks, Brian and Denise. I’m loving the dimensionality which your two posts bring, the ancient and the very new, the Dreaming and the DNA. We need both our roots and our bright green shoots! Yet DNA has existed for ever and the Dreaming is never just past tense! So in a spiritual direction conversation, whether between two Earthlings or between one Earthling and another form of being, or indeed between oneself and one’s body, there’s a timelessness, even perhaps a spacelessness that leaves me awe-struck. I’m influenced here by a recent group reading of Jean Gebser’s The Ever Present Origin. Thanks for engaging. I look forward to more musings from you and hope for others to join the conversation.

  • #13388


    Hi Di,
    I’m delighted to join this group.
    Thank you (all three) for these wonderful insights and convergences.
    For me, spirituality emerges within the experiences of ‘withinness’ that is mysteriously and simultaneously personal and cosmic. …. Presence permeating throughout. ….creating intimacy. So difficult to find words to describe this as it is so much more than rational. I believe all the primal cultural myths connect us on this level. And even as lost as we are today, mystic threads call us home…. Poetry, flowers, beauty, silence, relationships.

    I am currently watching the PBS series Genius by Steven Hawkings. He presents clear and direct ways to understand basic understanding of how the universe works, providing experiments average people can grasp. The brilliance of the mind of those who have been able to express this mathematically is amazing in itself (especially for me as I am mathematically challenged!) and the awesomeness of the universe our knowledge points to…. simply WOW.

    I often ask myself — what does ‘God’ look like stripped of ideology and theology? I’m reminded of Buckminster Fuller’s comment: “For God to me it seems, is a verb not a noun.”

    Breathing together,

  • #13419

    Di Shearer

    Great to have your contribution, Bernice. Stephen Hawkins is certainly a pillar of strength and insight in today’s times. I love the mathematics of it all. Some years ago I started talking about the chemistry of the body, the physics of the mind and the mathematics of the spirit! It’s the ‘within of things’ in its own way.

    Let’s keep the conversation going. Brian’s post talks about wholeness and unity and our being called into evolutionary consciousness. Denise’s of the cosmic becoming … wanting to manifest in me. Bernice’s of the mysteriously and simultaneously cosmic and personal. Ilia Delio speaks of the third nature of Christ – the cosmic. She also emphasises collective consciousness to undo the individualism that has so taken hold of Western ways.

    All this reinforces in me the final three words of the vision statement of Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction (AECSD) which is ‘ to listen the life-giving presence of God into articulation in the individual and the community. ‘In the community!’ It seems to me that the one to one compassionate and discerning listening we do as spiritual directors/guides needs more and more to be supplemented by the one-to-many and many-to-many listening which this deep time journeying is all about.

    I look forward to your further comments.

  • #13565

    Rod Sugden

    Hi Di, Brian, Bernice and Denise,

    Thanks Di for starting off this exchange and thank you all for your very thought provoking writings!

    Brian, I love that Montessori quote you included. I feel that this is one of the real powers of the Universe Story. I remember following and practicing many spiritual paths and although there was a strong emphasis on selflessness…..ultimately, I found it next to impossible to break out of a separate sense of ‘me’. However, in discovering the Universe Story through Brian Swimme and spending quite some time contemplating what he was saying, I feel, more and more that I am actually a part of something infinitely bigger than ‘myself’. And in this Big- Self…….I’m connected to others. And this connection, I feel, is one of wholesomeness and goodness. I like also what you say about how Teilhard bridged two worlds. In my experience it’s so easy to veer on one side or the other. Become too ‘spiritual’ and disconnected to the earth or too materialistic and miss the ‘within’ of all things. I feel one of the beauties of The Universe Story is that it satisfies my logical, scientific mind but also at the same time brings me to a much deeper sense of self……and at times a depth that transcends duality…….. such that the boundaries of inner and outer; self and other dissolve.

    Denise I love what you say about ‘inviting that which I can see and that which I cannot see to be my guide at this moment.’ I can really relate to this when I walking in nature, in that everything I see….the trees, birds and flowers become my teachers. (A teacher, I feel is, someone or something……that takes me to deeper understanding, experience or sense of self). At the same time there is so much that I don’t see. As Brian Swimme says the Universe is a ‘Multi-Variant-Treasure.’ Which, to my understanding, means it’s not ‘ a fixed entity out there’ but something that has in fact infinite depth and reveals itself in ever deeper dimensions as we ourselves develop.

    Bernice, I really like what you say about how you ask yourself what does ‘God’ look like stripped of ideology and theology?’ I feel this is such an important question! So often I find myself viewing others and the world around through the filter of my ideas, even the ideas of ‘The Universe Story.’ In this regard, I feel it’s important to be able to let go of even the ideas we hold dearest. I came right up against this recently, when a close friend of mine, and long term spiritual companion on the path, proclaimed that he doesn’t believe in evolution! The challenge I feel is to be open and respectful to others views even when they seem to attack ours.

    Di, I loved the quote you included from AECSD……’to listen to the life-giving presence of God into articulation in the individual and community.’ Yes, I agree, listening is so important. As a primary school teacher I endeavour to really listen to every pupil in my class. In the ‘listening’ an environment is created that allows children to feel heard, acknowledged, feel their worth, potential and increase their inner thirst and drive to grow and flourish. And it is in this deep listening that we can come together in news ways and forge a brighter and more wholesome future.

    I look forward to seeing what will emerge next from this great dialogue.

  • #13567

    Di Shearer

    Thanks, Rod. Your review and gratitude for each contribution draws the threads together beautifully. I especially like the term Big Self in this context. It’s somehow more than true self ( which is still so often interpreted as individual) in Mystics esp Thomas Merton. But there’s also a shudder through me as I think of how this might be misunderstood as somehow an enlargement of the ego or an expansion of the false self. Big Self in the context of Big History though fits so well. More thought, reflections, please!

  • #13808

    Di Shearer

    I’ve just finished viewing the Q&A for the current PD program on the Public School with Traci and Lucy. It’s led me to ask how early education is a form of spiritual direction since the guides are listeners and learners as much as guides in a traditional sense. What a life-giving way to relate to one another whether in formal education contexts or in everyday interpersonal relationships. I keep asking the question both of myself and of those with whom I’m in conversation in spiritual direction: What’s the invitation here? in this way we can re-shape or renew communities and so be engaging in bringing to articulation the life-giving presence of the divine/ the ultimate / the universal. That’s the allurement for me in this!

    Love to hear your thoughts and musings.

  • #17266

    Brian Tucker

    Hi All,

    Am reading from the book “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Carl Jung: Side by Side” edited by Fred Gustafson and came upon this passage which speaks to me about our current world situation:

    “It is true that people are losing heart/trust in the work they do to help bring the world into the future. When I have asked people if they believe the human race is hardwired to advance to a higher level of life or if a person’s individuation process is trying at all cost to fulfill itself, even when I have given the qualifying statement that I was aware we might not make it but that the energy force behind Life intended it, there was consistent hesitation and quietness; an uncertainty prevailed. All this is so understandable given the destruction being done to the planet and the peoples of it. To see the big picture, however, that is, to not forget that all of life descends and ascends, that it is bloody with war and birthing and to remember that, if we do not keep trying to bring the world into a new day, it is over today at least for ourselves. Chardin would say, ‘reflection’ is the one gift with which the human race has to save itself, a concept with which Jung would certainly agree. Kathleen Duffy quotes Chardin as saying, ‘…evolution is now busy elsewhere in a richer, more complex domain, constructing spirit, with all our minds and hearts put together.’ This reassures him that not only is the cosmos complexifying, but it also has a ‘psychically convergent structure.’ Teilhard concludes that ‘Matter is the matrix of Spirit.”

    We see so many examples of this destruction occurring in our lives or the larger world. In our lives today what ways does evolution appear to be working to forge new connections, to open more creative expressions? In what ways is it potentially becoming frozen in old stories and paradigms that no longer work? Have we considered, as did Chardin, that consciousness is evolving along with the material world? If so, how might daily reflection become a tool to “save ourselves” and our world? Particularly for those whose lives are so immediately entrenched in a daily battle for survival, how can reflection reassure them to try again to bring the world into a new day? What teachings/approaches help to guide us in our encounter with the “psychically convergent structure” of the Cosmos?


    • #17459

      Di Shearer

      Hi Brian, not sure how I missed this post but tonight I’m back on line wanting to review the Big History Q&A. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed from doing the MOOC from Macquarie Uni. It ends with a fairly negative sense of the dissipation of all things. A good dose of Teilhard side by side with Jung would be a good tonic just now. Yes the emergence of ‘spirit’ and evolving consciousness certainly shores things up. Found a great 20 min Vimeo of Joseph Voros which brings together the Wilber quadrants with the external and technological complexities of Big History. Interiority a major development. The link is found with a google search of Youtube.com GF2045 Joseph Voros. All the best!

  • #17463

    Brian Tucker


    Thanks for your response. I’ve also been taking a MOOC, the Journey of the Universe with Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Swimme. If you haven’t yet taken this course, you can do so for free by auditing it. I find the material very uplifting. Am very interested in exploring this integration of Jung and Teilhard. Denise and I are currently reading “Cosmos and Psyche” by Richard Tarnas and finding that material to be very engaging. Listened to the Voros youtube this morning, and will re-watch tonight. Enjoyed it very much — thanks for recommending.


  • #17466

    Di Shearer

    Yes, Brian, I’ve done the first three of the specialisation and am waiting for the fourth in the series which I anticipate for later in January. Meanwhile … now to read Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to the JOU. My copy arrived today. Let’s keep talking.

    Please say more about the Jung and Teihard interweaving … if you can spare the time. Thanks, Di

  • #19082

    Noha Tarek

    Hi everyone & thank Di for this beautiful thread… I know this is a very late addition, but I just read through your wonderful posts…

    Adding my own “reflection”, as Teilhard advises us… It’s very brilliant Di the expression that you mentioned about coming through the lens of the Universe Story upon this Network here, trying to “free ourselves from idolizing bonds of ideology or theology”… this made me reflect on how we’re going to spiritually direct or guide children (the future generations), whom – hopefully, unlike us – their spiritual educational background wouldn’t be ideologized or theologized as we had… so how will their spiritual guidance be? Without the guise of ideo-theo (a spur of the moment nickname for ideologized or theologized 🙂 ) that played the role of spiritually directing our & preceding generations?

    I think perhaps, “science” may take this role… I remember the science classes that we had (& still have) in schools today, & they’re definitely not fit for scientific, exploratory, & innovative inspiration, let alone spiritual inspiration, for children!!! But in our age, with all the accumulated scientific explorations that have revealed a well-connected self-organizing grand system of an evolving Universe; to tell children this magnificent story of the Universe as a science is enough for itself to wildly ignite the spiritual kindling within children’s hearts, without the need anymore for the ideo-theo texts of our forefathers!

  • #19083

    Di Shearer

    Thanks, Noha, for waking us up to this conversation again. I’ve enjoyed re-reading it. I’m also aware of your special interest in the raising of children without cultural or religious bias. I like the short-hand ‘ideo-theo’ – says so much.

    My one response is that I’ve always tried to link new knowledge with ‘tradition’ in some sense. Almost need to say ‘traditions’ because they are mulitiple. We can’t find new ways of being, renewed consciousness without coming to terms with the ‘deficient’ up to now understandings. I’m endeavouring to work with 40 values/characteristics that can be cultivated in children. Not finding this ‘exclusive’ to any ‘ideo-theo’ – yet at the same time only really understood through grounded experience which can’t be separated from ‘culture’ of some sort of the others.

    Do hope you find the academic context for researching all this soon. Keep chatting here and welcome back to each of you. Please update the topic with your comments.

  • #19120

    Noha Tarek

    Thank you Di for your reply 🙂

    I didn’t completely understand what you’re working on now. Did you mean that you’re writing a paper/book about 40 values to nurture in children, that link new knowledge with traditions?

    I think that for the children to build on their own cultural values, based on their unique experiences, they have to be guided by a critical view of the prevalent culture in their society, & the global culture as a whole. But why? Because I remember Thomas Berry saying in one of the videos in the JOTU MOOC (I can’t remember which video), that the transformation we’re going through now is greater than any transformation or challenges faced by the great figures in human history (including prophets), therefore, we need something so immense in its inspiration to radically change us in order to be well equipped to go through this Universal transformation without falling into extinction.

    That’s why I think we need next generations to have a radically changed set of values, morals, behaviors, than previous generations. Because if next generation will continue on our (& previous generations) path, we’re going into doom!

  • #19123

    Di Shearer

    HI Noha,

    Regarding the 40 values you enquired about, I’m spending contemplative time considering how I model this value (or otherwise) to children. So, for example, today’s value is ‘generosity’ and ‘sharing’. I’ve tried to picture myself being with a child who isn’t willing to share a toy or a sweet – and how I might cultivate this value in the context. It’s not easy. And values are never simple – it’s never black and white.

    Yes, immense, Universal transformation. So glad to have your company.

  • #19132

    Noha Tarek

    That’s great Di 🙂 I think the best thing is that you write through practice. It’s hard to imagine this, unless you do it in practice with children. You can spend a regular time with children in KG, or even better, with children in orphanages, or perhaps even with refugees (along with international organizations’ centers in Australia). It would be like an ethnographic study, you observe, practice with children, see their reactions, & write…

  • #234675

    Di Shearer

    Hi Noha, after so long in this site. I’m fascinated with the above conversation, most of which I have forgotten. Especially the 40 values bit. I might re-read all this and see whether anyone is interested to pick up the thread again. Or perhaps start a new discussion. 🐿

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.